When Pay-to-Play Becomes a Crime
Did you know that online dating apps have a criminal counterpart? Apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr, etc. operate to connect users and foster short or long-term relationships. These apps allow users to view other users’ pictures and bios as well as send direct messages to learn more about each other.
However, online dating apps aren’t always used for dating and “hooking up.” Some people solicit others to engage in prostitution. Many online dating app users engage in short-term sexual relationships, but the moment a dollar sign is added to these acts, it is a crime.
CA Penal Code 647b defines prostitution as a person who solicits, agrees to engage in or engages in any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation, money or anything of value from another person. Many TV shows and movies depict prostitution as women lingering around streets and alleys, offering sexual acts for pay to drivers passing through. While this is a valid example of prostitution, it isn’t the only one.
It’s no surprise that online dating apps do not only cultivate dating relationships. Many users intend to “hook up” and engage in sexual activities with no strings attached. But if such acts are compensated with money or something valuable, then a solicitation and/or prostitution charge may ensue.
Examples of prostitution and solicitation include:
- Paying someone money in exchange for receiving sexual acts
- A massage therapist may perform sexual acts on their customer for an extra tip
- A boss may offer an employee a raise in exchange for sexual acts
- An online dating app user may offer to pay someone $100 for oral sex
- Offering to perform sexual acts in exchange for something of value
- A landlord may ask their tenant to perform sexual acts in exchange for no rent payment
- A drug addict may pay their drug dealer in sex instead of money
- An online dating app user may offer to buy someone a fancy lunch in exchange for sex
- Requesting, pressuring or encouraging someone to commit the crime of prostitution (solicitation)
- A customer may threaten to get someone fired from their job if they don’t perform sexual acts on them
- A gym trainer may flirt with their client then request sex in exchange for a private training session
- An online dating app user may threaten to post provocative private message conversations with another user on social media if such user doesn’t agree to prostitute themself
There are various ways you can end up on the wrong side of the law through online dating apps. Jokingly offering to pay someone for sex or take them out to a nice meal afterward will not be treated lightly by California law enforcement agencies, as solicitation and prostitution are not laughing matters to them.
It’s important to protect your freedom and legal rights with the help of an experienced Oakland criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed. We utilize proven defense strategies that have helped hundreds of people get acquitted. Allow us to aggressively defend your case as soon as possible.
To get started, contact us at (510) 907-6600 to make an appointment for a free consultation.